Thursday, June 5, 2014

Only in Africa!

This week will go down in the Hedges 2014 annals as The Tap Incident !

But before I tell you this, I need to go back more than two years to just after we'd arrived in Mwadui. One of our outer doors was sticking so Grant said he'd send the carpenter fundi to the house. The young man duly arrived and after I'd established that he could speak English, (at that time I was still learning Swahili so that I could communicate with the people)  I asked him his name; he said it was Sekamenya. I showed him the problem door and went to the kitchen. I heard banging, so I thought that, while Sekamenya was obviously wielding a hammer, I would ask him to knock a nail into the lounge wall so that I could hang up a picture.

He called me to show me with great pride that the door would now open and close without sticking. I congratulated him on a job well done and asked where his hammer was. He looked at me as if I had three heads, so I dashed to my Swahili/English Dictionary and looked up the word. When I asked him again where the nyundo was, he opened the outer door, bent down to pick something up, and returned with it in his hand. It was a fist-sized rock! 

That was then...

This week, on Sunday morning Grant came out of his shower and asked me to call the night askari (who speaks no English) and tell him to turn off the tap below his bathroom window. It was gushing water straight into the drain. I went outside in my pj's and spoke to Dowdy, our night watchman. He told me he couldn't turn off the tap as it was broken. I relayed the news to Grant who said he'd send a plumber to fix the tap as we couldn't waste water like that indefinitely.  

I never gave this incident another thought.

That evening Grant went into his bathroom and came out immediately asking me to tell Michael to turn off the second tap. It was the tap behind the first tap that was the culprit that morning, and now this one was gushing water. I went out to Michael and together we went to inspect the taps.  He tsked tsked and said that obviously Asmani, the company plumber fundi had repaired the first tap by using the parts from the second tap. When I relayed THIS to Grant he almost exploded! 
 Asmani had swopped the taps around (if you enlarge you will see the black tubing with which Michael managed to stop the back tap gushing water overnight)

Meanwhile, Michael found a piece of rubber tubing and bound the second tap up to stop it running. 

The next morning Michael started his annual leave and although Grant sent Asmani to fix the second tap, there was no Michael to check that it was done properly. That night I went outside to play with little Princess and noticed a long, black plastic pipe jutting out from the offending second tap. This was obviously the way Asmani corrected the problem that day.  

 The second tap, which had been "broken" to fix the first one, now had a long pipe attached!

When I told Grant to check the second tap through his bathroom window, he just shook his head...

The next morning he personally brought Asmani down to the house with two brand new taps and washers and instructed him to fix both taps today!
I took this photo of Asmani - finally repairing the second tap as well - through Grant's bathroom window
Afterwards Princess and I went out to check that both taps were finally fixed. (They are!) 

As my title says: Only in Africa!

Oh, and the picture (and several others) hanging on my lounge walls? I bought my OWN hammer and keep it in my sideboard for when I need one!

I hope you're all having a really great week.


  1. Oh my, these kind of things do drive me batty! LOL. Thankfully both taps are now fixed. Hope you are having a wonderful week. xx p.s. I saw Kay's comment awhile back that she hopes to visit in Tanzania. That will be a long held dream come true.

  2. JO, I am so glad things were finally fixed. And your picture is hung..Enjoy the rest of your week!

  3. Oh my gosh...what a story. Only in Africa? Well, maybe so...but my goodness.

  4. That's a classic story, you had me laughing!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo